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NHL 2011: Pittsburgh Penguins Limp to Take on Minnesota Wild

Eron NoreContributor IIIOctober 18, 2011

NHL 2011: Pittsburgh Penguins Limp to Take on Minnesota Wild

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    The Winnipeg Jets won their first game since returning to the NHL last night. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.

    For a good part of the beginning of the game, the Penguins looked lifeless. To make matters worse, they were missing Tyler Kennedy, who is believed to have suffered a concussion.

    The middle portion of October is starting to look a lot like February and March of last season. Currently, the Penguins are having trouble mustering up any sustained offense and, more often than not, the chances they get are not that good.

    Depending on how you look at it, maybe it's a good thing that the Pens don't have to wait long to skate again. They will play the Minnesota Wild in the second of back-to-back road games.

    Pittsburgh is going to have to keep it simple to win. They may even have to steal a win against the Wild. Here are a few ways to do that.

Kris Letang /Brian Strait

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    Kris Letang has been ordered to face Brendan Shanahan for his hit from behind/boarding infraction in the game against the Jets. As a result, the Penguins have called up Brain Strait from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

    If Tang receives any kind of suspension, the defense loses its top guy. Brian Strait has been able to handle the NHL in his brief tryouts, however, so this is a good opportunity for him.

Capitalize on the Power Play

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    Steve Sullivan and the power play unit could really help the team right now. Sure it would be great to dream of a two or three goal performance, but the way the offense is going just scoring one goal could make a huge difference.

    Can the guys capitalize with the man advantage in order to pick the rest of the squad up?

Garbage Goals

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    Things are not pretty for the offense right now. It seems the only way to get on the board is to clog the goalie's vision lanes and toss the puck at the net.

    Rebounds, screened shots, goals off of visors...whatever gets the job done.

Energy

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    The Pens cannot lose sight of what it is that helps their success, sustained pressure on the forecheck. When you are losing or are not scoring goals, the legs may feel a little heavier, but it is important to keep playing Pittsburgh Penguins' hockey.

    By getting the forecheck in there shift after shift, the chance of grinding them down or getting a turnover increases.

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